Bank of Uganda director: Work together to find common solutions to common challenges

The financial services sector in the COMESA region, presently reeling in fluctuations of foreign exchange and runaway inflation, will need to do more as a bloc to devise common solutions, the Executive Director in Charge of Supervision at the Bank of Uganda, Mrs Justine Bagyenda, has said.

Speaking during a networking dinner hosted by AITEC Africa to announce renewal of sponsorship for the annual Banking and Mobile Money COMESA Conference by the PayNet Group, Mrs Bagyenda said the regional financial services sector also needed to brace itself for a more volatile period ahead. “The economies are facing common challenges, and although the future looks bright, there is pressing need for bankers, innovators and regulators to sit together and to thrash out common solutions,” she said.

Mrs Bagyenda asked AITEC Africa, which has been promoting the use of ICT in Africa for over two decades, to work towards making the 2012 AITEC Banking & Mobile Money COMESA conference “a common solutions laboratory”.

BoU's executive director in charge of supervision, Mrs Justine Bagyenda (left) with AITEC Africa chair Mr Sean Moroney

“Mobile money has become an important component of our financial services sector. Uganda, for instance, has three out of the five Mobile Network Operators offering mobile money transfers. There is no doubt as to the role technology plays in changing the economic outlook,” she said, praising the role played by AITEC Africa in bringing various technology developers and players in the financial services sector together in the region’s annual banking conference.

Bernard Mathewman, CEO at Paynet, announced during the event that his company would for the fifth year running take lead sponsorship of the conference scheduled for March, next year, “to encourage reflection by the sector”, and “notes sharing.” Paynet runs the PesaPoint ATM network and other financial services in various countries across the COMESA bloc.

The Banking and Mobile Money conference, he added, presents a unique opportunity for the financial services sector to collectively meet and thrash out issues bedevilling financial services.

The regional economic integration championed by the COMESA and EAC regional groupings is outlined to have a strong potential to boost investment and trading opportunities which will spur increased competition and efficiency.

During the event, Sean Moroney, the Chairman of AITEC Africa, announced that his organization was supporting a budding Mobile Money Forum called NaiPay, which would help stakeholders in mobile payments meet more regularly to address common challenges.

The Banking and Mobile Money COMESA conference held early in 2011 at the KICC attracted 1,000 delegates from across the COMESA bloc and was termed “highly successful” by other speakers during the dinner.